Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#AtoZChallenge Colors Abound

Earlier today, I was working on a post for one of my other blogs I entered into the challenge. (I have 12 total entered. The one to which I am referring right now is Montessori Writer.) I was reflecting on the color tablets that we use in Montessori education, to help children discern not only between colors, but between variations within a color family. I don't remember using them much as a Montessori child, but I know I must have. I was the kid who always had to have the 64 box of crayons. I recognized at an early age that red flowers have many shades of red within each petal, not just that primary shade we all associate with the word. My flower drawings often included every pastel color I could squeeze in all at once. I still prefer to look at colors that way, and teach my students to do the same.

When I put together my garden every year, I like to include as many colors as I can. I start my spring with all kinds of blooming bulbs among the forget-me-nots.

In the summer, I spend hours at the nurseries, assembling plants in various combinations for pots. I make sure that I have one six-pack of every single color available in each annual. I require a multicolor row of impatiens to line my north shaded bed. I need all colors of lobelia and petunias in between the daylilies in the narrow bed on the side. I must mix all of the vibrant shades of portulaca in between my peonies. All of my roses are of different colors, and not necessarily organized by color, either. And I grow multicolored food!

I love having different colors and shapes of foliage throughout the garden, as well. The more mixed up, the better, I say!

Some people like to have a manicured garden that follow a theme in color. Yes, those are beautiful. I am just not capable of doing that. I need the different colors like the flowers need the sun and rain.   


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

#AtoZChallenge Breathe in the beauty of the garden

The garden can truly be your oasis. It's a place to relax and rejuvenate. Admire the beauty that you create. Breathe in the flowers, the dirt, and the warm winds blowing. Close your eyes and imagine those blooms while you conduct deep breathing and let go of all your worries.

It's harder to do that right now, in the cold season. I had grandiose plans of starting to clear mine out some more, but alas woke up to snow on the ground. I could really use some time in the dirt and just relaxing. I know it is coming soon. Until then, I shall just visualize my favorite flowers and dream...

This is one of my pictures from last summer. My father bought me this rose bush when I moved into the house. It's a gorgeous rusty color and has a magical scent. I love to go out every morning to inhale it. Ahhhhhh....

Monday, April 1, 2013

#AtoZChallenge Anticipating this year's garden

April is here again, which is a great time for me to dream of flower and plants via the A to Z Challenge. I think that is almost the only time of the year at which I update this blog. Thank you to those of you who stick it out and visit, anyway!

Upstate NY is yet again taunting us. Today is April Fool's Day. After a gorgeous weekend in which I was sitting outside writing, while starting to enjoy the spring blooms, Mother Nature's evil trick was to send us some more snow. 

Not funny.

I ran around on Saturday, in the glorious sunshine, taking pictures of some of my flowers. I love to do that, and to share them all online. I love flowers. I love photography.

Ahhhh, isn't that picture just the essence of springtime happiness? It evokes all kinds of thoughts of getting my hands dirty and creating new things of beauty and raising some of my own food to eat. To share Nature's bounty.

And then we get stupid snow. And rain. And wind. And cold. Even the flowers were huddling today.

I keep reminding myself that this is all a part of the cycle of the seasons. It is a necessary evil to achieve the beauty and bounty of summer. It just seems to take too long at times, especially when one is on Spring Break and is aching to get out there and get busy!

What are your plans for gardening this year?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Too many plants

I admit it. I have some OCD coursing through my veins. I come by it naturally. When I came across people who sold dozens of varieties of tomatoes, it was hard for me to resist buying one of every single variety. I held myself back at about 45 varieties and 50 plants, or something like that.

I live in a city neighborhood, so I don't have a lot of extra space. I have turned half of my driveway into a garden by using so many pots. I also live on a corner, which means everyone can see into my yard, no matter where I am.

So, a couple of weeks ago, as I was wrapping up planting my pots, a car slowed down next to my yard. I thought it was going to be someone asking directions to someone's house I didn't know.

"Hey! You be selling some of them plants?"

I actually burst out laughing and said no, but it did strike a chord in me.

How fun would that be to actually grow and sell plants next year? I have always dreamed of creating decorative pots to sell.

Perhaps this year I will just settle for a roadside stand of my huge crop of tomatoes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

They're baaaaaaaaack! HELP!

I was sitting on my back steps yesterday when my neighbor decided to pop over for a few minutes. One of the things she had to tell me was that her grandson noticed that raccoons were hanging out in my driveway again the other night.


They are adorable creatures, but darn it! This is not fair. I am one of the few people working hard at growing her own vegetables in the neighborhood. I am trying to do a good thing. And these cute little monsters are threatening me again.

A couple of years ago, I was actually successful in growing corn. I had a row of cornstalks along my driveway. The night before they were ready to harvest, the bloody creatures stole all of the ears. Apparently they also know when corn is ready to harvest.

A bunch of us called the city about it, because it was a problem. Rumor has it there were up to 40 raccoons at any given time. They refused to help because "someone was feeding them."

Yeah, I planted the garden just to feed a bunch of raccoons.

So, if anyone has any recommendations about what to do, I am all ears. A fence is not an option. The only space I have left for veggie gardening is either in containers or in a small bed that runs along my driveway in back. To put up a fence requires money and permits and it's a small area, anyway. I have a small foot-high white fence more for aesthetics at the request of my neighbor on the other side of the driveway. I believe regulations state it can't be higher than 2 feet.


Photo by Jeff Jones on SXC

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Triple Tomatoes!

As I have said before, I went nuts on the tomato front. I have 34 different varieties, each one in its own pot. (Okay, the Old German and the Roma are sharing one ginormous pot.) It has only been a week-and-a-half since I potted them, and they have already tripled in size! I had to realign the pots to give them all more space!

If they keep this up, I may have to spread them even farther apart. I have no idea where they will go, then!

One of the pots even has a baby tomato already forming! It's still only May! I am so excited, because I am hoping this is a sign of what is to come.

People keep joking that I am going to be able to have a roadside stand this year. How fun would that be?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Connecting with my parents through the garden

Last weekend, I woke up feeling antsy, so I went to the Rochester Public Market. I love it there. Lots of vendors supply the city with fresh produce and goods. Right now it is also Flower Days, which means excellent deals on flowers and vegetables. Trying to find a parking place is a serious problem, though, and frustrates me to no end. I was ecstatic to finally find one right inside the market next to one of the coffee shops. It made it easier to spend way too much money.

I was on a mission to find someone who sold a variety of tomatoes. Last year, I remember seeing a group that had all kinds of varieties I had never seen before. I am a huge fan of the "nibbler" varieties that you can just pick right off of the plant and pop into your mouth. I have been known to have a full tomato lunch while sitting out in my yard. I do also like other varieties and want to try more. To my delight, there was a woman known as "The Tomato Lady" who easily had 50-60 different varieties. I started gathering every "nibbler" I could. She gave me a great deal since I was buying so many kinds. I ended up with 21 plants (all different, mind you) for $32. And the plants were beautiful. I picked up a few more from a couple of other vendors and then a couple more at the nursery after. Grand total of tomatoes to be potted: 34 - all different varieties.

I kept wandering around, looking for some good annuals. The nursery/farm market I go to has excellent prices on their flats. Unfortunately, most of the vendors at the Public Market were higher. I had passed someone who had flats for $13 apiece while I was collecting my tomatoes, but couldn't find that person again. I did eventually find someone who was selling flats at 2 for $25. I relieved him of his last two flats of lobelia. Those are one of my absolute favorites. Once those were loaded in my car, I headed to the farm market and spent more money on lots more flowers and veggies.

I spent the next 8 hours or so, sweating away in my yard. I cleaned out a couple of the beds and planted a whopping half-flat of annuals. I got all of the tomatoes potted, though!

Working on the tomatoes made me really miss my mom. She grew up on a farm and one of their major crops was tomatoes. It was tempting to try to call her and see if she would be able to talk to me about it. But the last time I tried, she could barely get out more than five words at once.

I also spent a lot of time working on the big bed on the side of the house. My father helped me put that together after I had dug it all up. I had reinjured an old break in my ankle the week before their visit, so I spent a lot of time scooting on my butt to place the rocks and plants. I exhausted myself shopping while hobbling on crutches. But we did it all together. I can feel him in the flowers when I am out there.

I still have so much work to be done. Unfortunately, this weekend I have been plagued with the stomach bug AGAIN from the little darlings at school. I hope to get out there in another day or two when I am feeling better!